So maybe conference realignment isn’t moving all that fast?


KenPom did it again.

If you don’t know who KenPom is, he’s actually Ken Pomeroy, a weatherman from Utah that runs the best college basketball stats site on the web. He also has a habit of disproving myths and using facts, stats, and logic to show why everyone else is wrong about something.

On Monday, he took a look at conference realignment over the last two decades.

And, well, it looks like the last two years have pretty much been the status quo for that time period.

I’m not going to give you all the details of the post — hey, the man deserves some page-views for the amount of work he put in — but, essentially, there have been four periods over the last two decades that resulted in major shifts of the conference landscape. The most interesting, however, took place in 1991, when Florida State, South Carolina and Miami all ended their football independence. That resulted in changes to the membership of leagues like the Metro Conference (what?), the Great Midwest (who?) and the Sun Belt (ahh, I know them).

KenPom’s kill shot, however, came at the end of the piece:

What’s interesting about the summer of 1990 is that, like 2010, there were so many rumors that didn’t pan out. In 1990, things like the ACC adding Syracuse, a 14-team SEC involving Texas A&M, a 12-team Big Ten, and the Pac-10 inviting Colorado were apparently legitimate rumors at some point that year, and of course, finally came true two decades later. In retrospect, it was amazing there weren’t more changes in the ‘91 off-season, just as it appeared certain there would be more changes than actually occurred in 2012.

While realignment appears to be occurring at a lightning pace, it could move a lot faster than it is. The increasing viability of conference TV networks probably means there’s more room for expansion in the nation’s elite conferences. The rumors of this off-season involve the Big 12 expanding from either the ACC or the Big East, or the ACC further poaching the Big East to get to 16 teams, or the SEC raiding the Big 12 to get to 16.

One thing that struck me in that 1990 SI piece linked above was this quote from Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles: “The ‘90s are predicted to be moving in the direction of three superconferences, each with a major network.” The predictions 22 years later aren’t much different, so one could conclude that things are moving rather slowly. Perhaps times aren’t that unusual after all.


(Seriously, though, head on over and read what he has to say.)

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.